|Checks and balances at risk in Queensland*|
Following its findings of extensive corruption in Queensland government and police service, the Fitzgerald Inquiry recommended an independent body be established, charged with investigation of corruption and crime in Queensland.
Detailed analysis of the various common instances of other prevalent official misconduct is not called for in this report. It is sufficient to record that the evidence before this Inquiry plainly established common and, apparently, growing manifestations of other official misconduct and its central importance in facilitating major and organized crime.
The seriousness of that other official misconduct must not be overlooked. Rather it is the plainest demonstration of the need for the researched and integrated approach to organized and major crime mentioned earlier in this report.One possible model explored by the Report was an independent commission against corruption. This was rejected because of the myriad tensions inevitably associated with it. Instead, a Criminal Justice Commission ('CJC') was recommended, to be overseen by a parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee [Part 10.2]. In 2002, the CJC merged with the Queensland Crime Commission to form the Crime and Misconduct Commission ('CMC').
As the functions of the original CJC have evolved, it is instructive, particularly in light of recent political events in Queensland, to revisit Fitzgerald's discussion of the tensions and challenges in having an independent commission against corruption. Many of his observations seem pertinent to the CMC and its relationship with the government.
In this post I will use Fitzgerald's report to provide context for why developments in Queensland are so troubling.